Online vs Brick-and-Mortar Blackjack
How do online blackjack games work, and can you trust them? Mr Blackjack runs through the mechanics and main differences to online 21 to help you decide.
One of the most frequently asked questions I get from new players is: 'What's the difference between online blackjack and blackjack games in brick-and-mortar casinos?'
It's a fair question to ask; there's a lot of uncertainty over the operation and trustworthiness of online blackjack, and no one wants to feel like they're being cheated out of their money.
While the rules and aim of blackjack remain the same no matter where you play 21, there are several differences in gameplay that all players should be aware of.
Live casinos have so many distractions going on that may impede your ability to play perfect strategy and count cards.
Other players may take their time; turns in live blackjack are not limited to timers.
The drinks staff comes around a few minutes to make sure your glass is always full. Speaking of alcohol: the casinos will do this in order to encourage you to take more risks that are not weighted in math in order to keep the house edge. There is a reason the drinks are free in Las Vegas.
With online casinos, you are free to control the environment in which you play. You and other players at the table will be limited to a timer though, which keeps a consistent pace of play and ensures the proper time can be spent on making decisions at any given time.
You can also place your action before it’s your turn in online blackjack, which does not happen when you are in a live situation. When you are playing online you don’t have to count your chips and you don't have to make sure you are betting properly and you always have a running total of your money since it is displayed on the screen.
There are two major types of online blackjack:
Live dealer blackjack
The first, live dealer blackjack, is where a real-life dealer shuffles the cards in a shoe just like you would see in a casino. They do not always use an automatic shuffler.
This creates a more life-like environment for the player. All gameplay is streamed in real-time, and these games have chat functionality so you can speak to the dealer and even other players. The game is streamed in a live studio with other table games going on, which adds to the experience and feels more like a real casino.
Online blackjack is also known as RNG blackjack, which stands for Random Number Generator software. This game has the fastest speed of play because it does not rely on a shuffle of any live cards and is played only at electronic tables.
This simulates what you would see if you played with a shuffling machine instead of a dealer shoe. RNG software chooses a card value at random and is not based on a particular number of decks or cards left in the shoe. That means if a card was dealt in a previous hand it can still come out on the very next hand. This makes it impossible to apply advanced techniques like card counting to your game, but on the flip side, you don't have to wait for other players in online blackjack. So, you're probably wondering which option is best. This depends entirely on your reason for playing. Online blackjack is good for short bursts of fast-paced fun, but if you're missing the energy and social aspect of a brick-and-mortar casino, then live dealer blackjack will give you the most immersive experience.
What this lesson covers
- The pros & cons of online blackjack
- How random number generator software works in online blackjack
- The differences between live blackjack & online blackjack
- When you should consider online blackjack
Meet Mr Blackjack
With a career spanning two decades, Mathieu Blake knows his way around a blackjack table. He's taught and entertained over 100,000 subscribers on his YouTube channel NeverSplit10's . In this series he'll take you through basic strategy, card counting, and bankroll management. Take a seat with Mr Blackjack and become a winning player.
Want to learn more about Blackjack?
- Do online blackjack games have minimum and maximum bets?
Online blackjack games have bet limits. The game companies that create blackjack titles want to give as realistic an experience as possible, which includes adding bet limits. Live blackjack games also have bet limits to manage cash flow and help players find a game that suits their bankroll.
- Does online blackjack offer the same odds of winning as blackjack in brick-and-mortar casinos?
Yes; the rules, gameplay, and objective are identical, so there are no differences from that perspective. Casinos will adjust table rules just as often in online blackjack as at the tables in their brick-and-mortar sites, too.
- Is online blackjack more rigged?
As long as players choose licensed, reputable casinos, then the online blackjack games won’t be rigged. These authorities, like the American Gaming Association (AGA), regularly inspect a casino’s games for fair play and randomness, so players can trust they’re legit. You can also check our blacklisted casinos guide for more tips on finding trustworthy betting sites.
- Is online blackjack worth playing?
Online blackjack games are available 24/7 and are flexible enough to suit any bankroll or time limit. The gameplay is identical and in live blackjack games, you can join tables alongside players from all over the world. For those that live far away from a brick-and-mortar casino or prefer playing casino games on the move, then online blackjack is a good option.
- Can I find as many variants of blackjack online compared to what brick-and-mortar casinos offer?
Players can find all their favorite variations of blackjack online, and more. Many online casinos launch exclusive blackjack titles with game companies that you won’t find in brick-and-mortar establishments.
- What is the best blackjack game to play online?
This depends on your gameplay preferences. If you want speedy, single-player games, then RNG-powered blackjack games are your best option. If it’s an immersive experience with other players that you prefer, then live blackjack is your ideal game.
- Is there any etiquette I need to follow in live blackjack games?
The biggest faux pas players make in live blackjack games is taking too long to bet, as this slows the game down for others. If you’re running the clock down, expect the live dealer to prompt you to make a decision. Some live casinos add a countdown timer to betting to ensure players maintain a steady pace in the game.